The union of special (SR) and general (GR) relativity. Use this tag if both SR and GR apply.

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space contraction near lightspeed

I read a lot of the Time-Life Science books when I was a kid (well, mostly the pictures and captions). One of the things that always stuck in my mind was an explanation of the twin paradox, using ...
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505 views

Relation between coordinates and frames of reference

I always get a little uneasy that all the theories I can think of (at least since Newton) are constructed in a way such that they would be true in heaven and on earth ... but we can never go ...
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594 views

relativity and aberration of light

I am dealing with math and physics only at amateur level and I am writing regarding my question on relativistic aberration of light. Reading "Realtivity and Common Sense" by Hermann Bondi and some ...
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91 views

How do we know the speed of light is constant and spacetime dilates rather than vice versa?

Some conspiracy nut was telling me that Einstein was BS and there's a giant conspiracy that he's wrong but scientists would loose all their jobs if they admitted it. Of course this is all baloney, ...
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358 views

If Julian Barbour is Correct, is the Speed of Light Special?

According to this article in Discover Magazine, Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity is wrong, because it didn't fully live up to the ideas of Einstein's idol, Ernst Mach. Mach proposed a truly ...
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168 views

Circular motion and time dilation

Einsteins' time paradox was shown when two atomic clocks were synchronized and one was sent in a super sonic plane and the other kept at rest. When the two where then checked it was shown that yes ...
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101 views

Is a particular force different in different frames

Can a particular real force have different magnitude in different frames?
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96 views

Perpetual Mobile and Gravitation

I have fundamental question about what is called the “law of conservation of energy”. We all hear about the tidal power stations which using the tidal power. The source of the tidal power came from ...
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219 views

an example where changing the frame of reference of an observer changes the outcome of events!

consider two identical charges moving with uniform velocity. There will be a magnetic force of attraction between them as two currents in the same direction attract each other. If I sit on one of the ...
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142 views

Killing Equation, trouble with tensor algebra

I'm attempting to follow a proof that the commutator of two Killing vectors is itself a Killing vector. The source that I've posted is from my course notes. I've highlighted the part I'm stuck on. ...
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79 views

What prevents an orbiting object from getting a speed which is greater than $c$? [duplicate]

Consider an object orbiting around a point with radius $r$ and angular velocity $\omega$. Here its linear velocity is $v=\omega r$. If we choose a large enough $r$ and reasonable $\omega$, $v$ might ...
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1answer
158 views

Why does Relativity effect the melting point of mercury?

I know there is a related question, that references the Dirac Equation, that relies on relativity, but I've just watched this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtnsHtYYKf0 Which seems to say ...
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Is gravitational attraction increased by relativistic mass as well as rest mass? [duplicate]

Is gravitational attraction increased by relativistic mass as well as rest mass? If so what would happen if an observer travelled at relativistic speeds? Would it appear to him that the whole ...
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53 views

Does relativistic glider violate principle of equivalence?

The relativistic glider proposed can slow down the fall of an object in gravitational field. Will this violate the principle of equivalence which says that one cannot distinguish between free falling ...
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147 views

In $1$-dimensional space, how would the gravity generated by an electron affect a photon moving away from the electron if the photon can’t slow down?

Suppose we had a universe obeying the same physical laws as our own. But it had only one spatial dimension (represented by the $x$ axis) and it was totally empty. There are just two point-like ...
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4answers
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Reducing General Relativity to Special Relativity in limiting case

I understand that general relativity is applicable to gravitational fields and special relativity is applicable to case when there is no gravity. But is there a derivation on how to reduce General ...
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2answers
679 views

Nature of spacetime 4-vector and tangent space?

An entry level confusion about spacetime. I understand that a 4-vector describes a point or event in spacetime. But I've also read (Bertschinger, 1999) that re spacetime "we are discussing tangent ...
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1answer
604 views

How will the Twin Paradox become, for Time Dilation, if no acceleration was ever involved?

I think one catch in Twin Paradox was about the big acceleration that can turn back the traveling twin from light speed outward bound, to become light speed inward bound. What if there is strictly no ...
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1answer
210 views

Does a light cone look the same from all reference frames?

If there were a light cone centered at some point $P$, and you were to look at that light cone from different reference frames, would it change its shape? I know that points inside and outside the ...
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3answers
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Is simultaneity testable?

I was reading about Andromeda paradox, and I started wondering. How can we know that the situation in the Andromeda paradox is real ? How can you know that simultaneity is real ? How can you say that ...
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Does Contraction at High Speeds Happen in Any Dimension Besides Length?

I'm not sure if this is a duplicate. Whenever physics buffs talk about Einstein's relativity (I forget which kind) at high speeds, they always talk about "length contraction", or shortening of the ...
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475 views

“as measured in a local Lorentz frame”?

I've seen the phrase "as measured in a local Lorentz frame" tagged on the end of so many sentences. What does it mean precisely? To give an explanation with an example, consider the context of ...
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2answers
103 views

Consider relativity. If a stick accelerates from a stationary state, how will it look like during the acceleration?

I mean how it will be shortened in the sight of an observer in a stationary coordinate system. It seems I was not clear enough. If the stick becomes shorter, then while this is happening, the ...
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351 views

Is there a default notation for 4-vectors while handwriting?

In printed paper 3-vectors can be denoted bold italic while 4-vectors can be denote just bold. While handwriting 3-vectors are denoted by arrows above letters. Is there a similar way to denote ...
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646 views

Is there a universal rest frame of reference?

I am still struggling with C being a constant and what that implies. So can an experiment be done to find the resting state for the universe? Take a device with an observer and a light source and two ...
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Question about Time Dilation

I just have a quick question about time dilation/proper time because my physics book makes it a little confusing. Let's say we have an observer on Earth, and then an observer on a space ship. The ...
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394 views

Proper time for an accelerating object

As far as I have read so far, proper time is the time measured on the clock of an inertial frame moving uniformly with respect to another inertial frame. The concept and the mathematical expression ...
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636 views

How do I adjust the kinematic equations to avoid reaching speeds faster than light?

I like some 'science' in my 'science fiction', so I started crunching out the kinematic equations for some of the scenarios my characters are getting involved in, and ran smack dab into an issue. ...
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189 views

Using Einstein's Relativity: Who is younger?

Suppose we have a person A and a person B. Person B travels very close to speed of light and never returns. He's constant in speed. Then, we can say two things: B is younger than A. A is younger ...
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Does deceleration (or negative acceleration) feel like acceleration?

This may seem like a dumb question, but I'm having a hard time trying to intuit the answer. The question is in relation to Einstein's famous thought experiment which says that it is impossible for a ...
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106 views

Which is more fundamental,''constancy of speed of light'' or ''space-time''? [closed]

My friend asked me,''which is more basic or fundamental? constancy of speed of light which makes space-time behave dynamically OR dynamical behavior of space-time that makes light to travel with ...
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1answer
695 views

Can we live forever by taking advantage of the time dilation effect?

I have been reading about Time dilation and twin paradox in Relativity. So,I thought that if It can be the difference of 10 yrs between the Girl in space and on Earth, then why can't anyone not age ...
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1answer
4k views

Why can't we accelerate objects past the speed of light? [duplicate]

Is there any intuitive reasoning behind why there would be this universal speed limit? It just seems so arbitrary. I know that there must be things that are unknown, but what reasoning is there behind ...
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203 views

Relativistic mass as seen by different observers

Imagine there are two observers $A$ and $B$ and a particle $P$. $A$ and $B$ are at about the same point, $P$ is some distance away. From $A$'s point of view, $P$ has velocity $V$ and $B$ has ...
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337 views

Thought experiment about acceleration

Case 1: two people wake up in spaceships accelerating at 1g. They can measure or observe anything inside the room but not outside. They couldn't determine if they were on a spaceship or on earth. ...
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512 views

Where does the minus sign appear from in the metric tensor?

Trying to understand Schutz's AFCIGR, where does the minus sign appear from in the metric tensor? I understand that this expresses the invariance of the spacetime interval. Schutz says (I think) ...
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2answers
141 views

What would a nuclear explosion look like at relativistic speeds where time dilation and length contraction become significant?

Suppose a rocket carrying a nuclear weapon is moving past our planet at very near the speed of light while a stationary observer watches from here on Earth. As the rocket passes directly overhead, an ...
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If all energy is removed from an object, what will it stop moving relative to?

If you somehow removed all energy from an object, what would it stop moving relative to? According to relativity, an object's position is not relative to the universe, just reference points, and, as ...
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214 views

Do photons feel gravity of approaching objects only?

I have read that photons while travelling near massive objects such as the sun experience gravitational pull which is why we see some stars at different positions than they are when seen towards the ...
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1answer
135 views

Lorentz transformation - need a little clarification

So the question states: A's and B's systems are related by the standard Lorentz transform. B simultaneously fires off two photons from transmitters distance D apart along the x' axis, and in the ...
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1answer
162 views

Could light travel more slowly than the “universal speed limit”? Could this imply quantization of spacetime?

One description of relativistic effects that I've heard/read goes something like this: Everything moves through spacetime at a constant speed. An object's direction of travel through spacetime can ...
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When a high speed neutrino just misses an old neutron star, why isn't it trapped?

Suppose a neutrino is seen travelling so fast that its Lorentz gamma factor is 100,000. It races past an old, no longer active neutron star, narrowly missing it. As far as the neutrino is concerned, ...
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80 views

Special relativity and Lorentz transformation

I recently learned about special relativity and different reference frames. The conversion from two inertial reference frames is given by Lorentz transformations: $$x' = ...
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1answer
61 views

The Great Atomic Clock of Kansas

It is said that astronauts on the ISS experience time slightly slower than the rest of us. (I believe that the lesser gravitational field would increase their rate of time, so that affect must be ...
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1answer
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what if the time is zero in one reference frame

Consider measuring the length of an object in another frame of reference. Of course this should happen at the same instance in the frame of reference the measurement takes place in. but using Lorentz ...
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2answers
299 views

Dimensional aspects of the imaginary unit $i$ in physics [duplicate]

From a real world perspective each dimension in the 3-D Cartesian System can be represented by an axis that is perpendicular to 2 other axes. I read somewhere else that the effect of ${i}$ is to ...
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2answers
214 views

Recovering 4-vector Lorentz transformation from spinor formalism

I'm trying to recover the 4-vector transformation laws using spinors. I have defined $$v^{\dot{a}b} = v^{\nu} \sigma_{\nu}^{\dot{a}b}$$ as usual, with $\sigma_0=1$. Now with the rules for dotted ...
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1answer
371 views

Degrees of freedom in the infinite momentum frame

Lenny Susskind explains in this video at about 40min, as an extended object (for example a relativistic string) is boosted to the infinite momentum frame (sometimes called light cone frame), it has no ...
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235 views

Finding wave-fuctions of a Dirac particle for given 4-momentum and spin 4-vector

I've been reading through various materials on relativistic quantum mechanics, but I find the lack of simple examples disturbing. I'm acquainted with the general form the solutions to the Dirac ...
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255 views

What is the mass of individual components in a gravitationally bound system?

When material of rest mass M falls from infinity onto a black hole accretion disk, it gets heated and then emits so much light that the energy radiated away can measure up to about 30% or so of M c^2. ...